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Shopping centres die in stages: like retail lepers, they lose limbs. Anchors are what keep them alive. They are the heart – a popular franchise, supermarket or department store that directs traffic past the smaller stores. Anchors such as food halls and cinema complexes are placed at the end of long stretches of glazed windows. The industry standard states that the maximum distance shoppers are prepared to walk between anchors is three hundred metres. This is called anchor drag.

Competing centres will often anchor-steal in an attempt to attract tenants and shoppers alike. When an anchor leaves, dead zones appear. Pedestrian traffic diverts like a dammed river. Blank corridors. Roller-doors. To survive, the weak gather around the strong.

Greyfields | Reportage | Edition 25: After the Crisis | all-pages | Griffith REVIEW
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